“Breathe deeply, suck in your stomach and twist, twist, twist”, said Yuri, in her Brazilian accent. Her perfectly fit and flexible body testified of the benefits of this torture. Sweat dripped off my body to the towel below, preventing my yoga mat from becoming a slip and side. Yes, I do Yoga. Better yet, I’m learning to survive it.
Several weeks ago I signed up to take a Bikram Yoga class, or Hot Yoga. I’ve attended a class or two in the past but decided to jump in and take advantage of a summer special. To be honest, it’s a rather miserable experience. A friend that I dragged with me the first day refused to come back. However, after tackling the recommended one class a day for 5 days to push through the learning curve, I **gasp** discovered that I liked it.
I also discovered that mostly fit people do Yoga. “Why is that?” I wondered in class one day. As I stared at my reflection in the mirror I tried to look past the red face, matted wet hair and jiggly belly to visualize my potential. Perhaps the 105 degree temperature and 40% humidity literally melts the fat off people. Or maybe its the thunderous beating of my heart by just standing in the heated room that helps to burn calories. Whatever the reason, it works. Within a week or two I feel so much better.
One thing for certain is the need to hydrate before the class starts. Newbies often nurse on a water bottle kept within arms reach. I did too. Instructors recommend not drinking water at all until after warming up. Then the entire class takes the first drink of water together. I learned the secret of staying hydrated several weeks later. While toweling off after a workout a woman next to me said, “the secret is to chug 2 large classes of water 20 minutes before class. And, if you’ve timed it correctly, you shouldn’t feel compelled to empty your bladder during class either.”
One more important tip is to wear as little clothing as possible. This can be a little intimidating. If you’re dealing with extra weight around the hips or tummy find a loose t-shirt and go for it. However, be aware that within a short time all clothing is soaked and stuck like glue to your body.
In the meantime, my adventures in Hot Yoga continue. I’ve discovered that after years of neglect I have biceps. And although my muscular body is still well padded, I will be learning to focus, relax and meditate myself into better health. Namaste.”